You have one shot at securing yourself an interview – to convince the panel of:
- What you have done in the past
- What you are doing in your current role that is useful to them
- Your developing skill set
- Your vision for the future
- How your strengths and skills can add value to the new school
- How your experiences to date can be used in the new context
Use the format given in the application pack, follow their instructions, address all your evidence to their person specification and mirror their language when possible. They have indicated how they want you to respond and what they are looking for – address it clearly and coherently.
- Carry out the instructions to the detail
- No more than 2-3 pages.
- Spell check
- Ask someone else to re-read and check for errors – fresh eyes can often see better
- Do not reduce your font size below 10
- Break up with lots of paragraphs to make it easier to read.
- Do your research on the school before you start writing read website, Ofsted, data, visit school, research into sponsor, trustees or governors
Consider a 3 part statement
State why you are applying for the role and what your current role is:
- Natural progression from current role
- Strengths and experience can add value in this role
- Ethos / vision / current circumstances attract you
- Refer to any research, visit or telephone discussion you may have made, mentioning anything of importance you may have noticed or what has impressed you.
You need to grab the panel’s attention and encourage them to read more.
You can be asked to:
- Address the person specification
- Address the National Standards
- Write a statement about your vision and how you can add value to the role
Structure your evidence clearly. Outline the initiative, your role and the impact you have had in your current role. Also refer to experience in previous roles if that adds value to your case for securing an interview.
Choose examples of evidence carefully to express a range of skills and experiences expressed in the person specification:
e.g. innovation in curriculum development, learning and teaching initiatives you have led on, mentoring and coaching, people development, whole-school impact, community involvement, strategic overview, accountability, monitoring, evaluation and review, contact with parents/ other schools/ governors, experience of budgeting and resource management.
Include examples that will encompass a number of the identified criteria and your impact.
e.g. A section from a Headteacher’s person specification, indicating where each criteria will be assessed.
|Leading learning and teaching||Essential/Des||Application||Interview|
|1||Ensure a consistent and continuous school-wide focus on pupil’s achievement, using data and benchmarks to monitor progress in every child’s learning||E||X|
|2||Establish a creative, responsive and effective approaches to learning and teaching, including new technologies||E||X|
|3||Demonstrate and articulate high expectations and set stretching targets for the whole school community||E||X||X|
|4||Implement strategies which secure high standards of behaviour and attendance||E||X|
|5||Determine, organise and implement a diverse, flexible curriculum and implement an effective assessment framework.||E||X||X|
|6||Monitor, evaluate and review classroom practice and promote improvement strategies.||E||X||X|
Be clear, concise and direct, indicating how you have led, developed and worked through others, managed change, taken initiative and made a significant impact. Your listeners will appreciate that you work as part of a team but you must tease out your individual role and impact as clearly as possible.
Some useful phrases:
- I set up
- I devised
- I collaborated with
- I delivered
- I adapted
- I sought feedback from a range of stakeholders
- I monitored
- I evaluated
- I believe this demonstrates tenacity / perseverance/ ability to work under pressure/ distributed leadership/ coaching / negotiation skills / ability to take initiative / the ability to hold others accountable
Try to make connections with the post you are applying for where you can see your skills and experience fitting with their objectives for the role and vision for the school.
What has your research told you about the school’s needs, priorities and plans?
How you can contribute and add value to these priorities will intrigue the panel and leave them wanting to hear more.
Help them to see how you can fit into the team and bring possible solutions and ideas to identified issues. People want a clear picture of how you have tackled similar problems in the past and what successes you had
Be prepared to discuss everything you have mentioned in detail at interview with your hard and soft evidence of impact at your fingertips, i.e.
Hard evidence – results, statistics, external commendations from LA / Ofsted, CVA
Soft evidence – attitude, culture, confidence, behaviour, attendance, independence
Finish your statement on a positive, concluding note, expressing your personal philosophy and vision and a desire to elaborate on how you believe you will move their school forward.
A useful preparatory device - a leadership and management grid
Before you sit down to write the final version of your supporting statement, a useful device to ensure you address all areas of the person specification, is to slot the person specification criteria into a grid, indicating your evidence and your impact.
This exercise should clarify your thoughts, help you to consider what impact you have made, and gather any facts and figures to prove it. Ensure you give evidence for your impact, both hard and soft. By clearly matching your experience and evidence of impact to the person specification you make it harder for panels not to shortlist.
Example leadership and management grid:
|Criteria||Your evidence||Your impact|
|Proven ability to set and achieve targets by being consistently focused on achieving high educational standards.|
|Clear vision and the ability to formulate and deliver a strategy|
|Commitment to manage and develop further high performance teams.|
|Commitment to maintaining the partnership between governors, staff, parents and pupils.|
|Delegation of responsibility with accountability.|
- Does my application present me as a candidate who really wants to work in this school or as someone simply looking for a new job?
- Does my application look like a cut and paste job or would the governors be convinced that I have really researched their school and thought about how I could add value?
- Have I discussed my key achievements?
- Have I outlined my key strengths and illustrated them with evidence and impact?
- Have I been clear about the personal impact I have made over the years?
- Have I used example of evidence that they will find useful for their context?
- Do I sound as though I’ve actually thought about their needs and what solutions I can bring?
- Do I sound as though I actually want this job, more than any other?